Jake Dgien Grabs Second Modified Feature Win Of 2022 Season At Woodhull Raceway

Story By: KENNY SHUPP / WOODHULL RACEWAY – WOODHULL, NY – The Addison Eagles presented the Annual Christmas in July Celebration with a big crowd on hand to enjoy the action under ideal weather conditions. Forty-two kids bicycles went out to a bunch of happy youngsters ages three thru twelve and Santa Claus made his appearance making the long haul from the north pole.

Russ Morseman and Eric Grice would lead the Insinger Performance Modified field to the opening green flag in their twenty-five-lap feature event, but it was Brian Doolittle taking over the top spot from his second row starting position to lead the opening pair of circuits. Jake Dgien, who lined up along aide of Billy VanPelt in row three waisted little time in moving to the front and took command on lap three. Three caution flags allowed the pace on laps four, eight and ten, but in each case, Dgien was able to continue to set a torrid pace with Billy VanPelt, Dayton Brewer and Joe Dgien all in tow. The final fifteen lap green flag run found Jake Dgien holding a comfortable margin over BVP who had his hands full with last Saturday’s winner, Dayton Brewer who was making every move in his attempt to pass the twenty-three-time Woodhull Track Champ, but it was to no avail as VanPelt would hold on for second over Brewer who had to settle for the final podium finishing spot. Joe Dgien, who lined up along side of Brewer in row four on the opening grid would go on to finish fourth while Brady Fultz recovered from an earlier race altercation to charge back thru the field to round the top five finishers.

For Jake Dgien it was win two on the season backing up his earlier victory on June 4 and in his post- race interview praised his brother Jake for making the necessary adjustments on his Hig Fab creation.

“This car has been good all season and right now we have an older back-up engine that we don’t know who even built it, stated Dgien. Our good motor isn’t back yet, and this engine doesn’t have the power our good motor does, but it works great here at Woodhull. It’s made me learn to drive the car differently.”

Levi Riley is going into his Senior year at nearby Addison High School, but don’t let this kid fool you. Like so many other greats before him, Riley also came thru the Woodhull Warrior Youth Division where he won plenty of races and championships prior to jumping right into the tough NAPA Crate Sportsman Division. As you might expect, Riley struggled mightily early in the season, but after gaining that valuable seat time he has brought the 00R machine into contention. Riley along with Matt Strauss would lead the fifteen-car field to the opening green flag with Riley immediately taking charge of the twenty-five-lap event. With only two caution flags early on that would slow the pace, Riley was comfortably in control at the front. However, former class track champion and June 25, 2022 feature winner, Kenny Peoples Jr. was mounting a serious charge from his seventh starting position and by the mid-way point had caught Riley and was putting on the pressure, lots of pressure! With the preferred groove on the bottom of the high banked one-third of a mile clay oval, Riley continued to hit his marks to perfection with Peoples literally glued to his rear bumper. Blake Lawson, who began the even tin row two kept things interesting by keeping pace with the lead duo just waiting for an opening and with one final yellow flag slow down on lap twenty-three, all Riley had to do was keep his composure and hold on for the win, which he did.

“I knew Kenny was there, stated Rookie of the Year Contender, Riley. I could see and feel him, but I knew I had to just keep hitting my marks. My car was real good getting off the corners and that may have been the difference. To beat him in getting my first win as a Rookie in this class is something I can be proud of. Now tomorrow I will go race my dirt bike”.

Riley and Peoples Jr. were chased across the line by June 4 feature winner, Blake Lawson with current high point man, Josh Nobriga putting on the drive of the night. Nobriga, who lined up inside row six made some nifty moves in coming thru traffic and with only a few yellow flags to help his cause had to do things the hard way. Veteran driver, Tim Guild put on yet another solid performance as he began the event in sixth and advanced one spot in rounding out the top five.

Like Riley, Peoples Jr. also came thru the Woodhull Warrior ranks before climbing up the racing ladder.

The numbers may have been a bit light, but the action more than made up for lower than usual car count in the Joe Willcox Performance Street Stock twenty lap feature. June 11 feature winner, Branden Morseman and Mike Williams would lead the field to Jon Stewart’s opening green flag with Morseman immediately taking charge with second row starter, Ted Morseman stuck to his rear spoiler. The two Morseman’s performance would mirror that of the Riley and Peoples challenge in the prior Sportsman feature event with Ted trying every trick in the book to overtake Branden, but in the end of the caution free feature it was Branden Morseman claiming win two on the season with Ted Morseman having to settle for second place in only his second outing in 2022. Current high point man and four -time feature winner, Brett Crawford put on a tremendous drive from last spot to claim third at the finish after suffering problems in his opening night qualifying heat race. Last weeks feature winner, Travis Webster and April 30 victor, Dan Gardner would take home fourth and fifth place money respectively.

“I watched the Sportsman race just before we went out and I could see the bottom was where the preferred groove was tonight, stated Branden Morseman. Once I got out front I knew I had to be perfect and stay as low as possible so Teddy couldn’t get a run on me. The car was not running good at all in my heat race so my brother Russ and Brett Flint dove in and changed all the spark plugs and it brought the car to life. I’m really glad to be here in victory lane after struggling early on.”

Another solid sixteen car field in the Hobby Stock Division would take the opening green flag for their twenty-lap feature with Jason Ketrow leading in the early going. Three cautions and one red flag stoppage on lap eighteen would slow the pace with three-time 2022 feature winner, Kaiden Dgien finding his machine on its lid in turn three with two laps remaining. After the clean up including the badly damaged machine of Mike Carapella the race then went to the finish with Joe Birdsall taking his fourth win of the year, however it did not come easy for the big guy from Canisteo, NY. Birdsall would line up in row two but had more than he could handle throughout having to deal with top contenders in Paul Dgien, Jeredd Dennis and Mike Spencer. Using multiple grooves, Birdsall was able to move around in taking the top spot, however one small miscue could cost the former class track champ. That mistake never came as “The Bird” was able to make his way into a jubilant victory lane where he went to the roof of his potent 88 machine and promptly shot gunned a pair of cold ones to the delight of his fans and well-wishers.

“This is my fifteenth year in racing and probably one of my best so far, stated a beer soaked Birdsall after his win. My dad died of Covid last year and he is the one that got me started in the Front Wheel Drive Class and from there it has been a great ride. This Hobby Stock Class is the absolute best. All of us get along well together and the competition is tough. To win four features so far is quite an accomplishment, but we still have a lot of racing left.”

Chasing Birdsall across the line in second was Paul Deign with brother of the feature winner, Brandon Birdsall claiming third. Fourth went to 2021 class champion, Jeredd Dennis with Jason Ketrow having his best finish of the year taking home fifth.

Jason Warner continues his stranglehold on the Wicked Tee’s Mini Stock point lead as he dominated the field in claiming his third feature of the year. In a twenty-lap grind that went off in record pace, Warner was able to lead the entire distance holding off Danielle Thomas who had yet another solid performance in coming home in the runner-up position. Last weeks feature winner, Ryan Stone would complete the top three podium finishers as April 30 feature winner, Rick Amidon would go on to claim fourth with Travis Southard rounding the top five. For Amidon it was his first outing of the 2022 season in his son, Brody’s 2021 championship winning machine after the elder Amidon had recently sold his own potent number 4 machine.

“This car is just perfect, said Warner. I really, really want to win this track title after coming up short last season. We have a new engine that is being build, but this car is working so well right now I’m not sure I want to change anything.”

Bradly Morseman would once again clean house in the Warrior feature event in route to win nine o the season. However, he once again had his hands full as number one challenger in Marshall O’Brian would keep up the pressure. Even a mid-race spin by Marshall could not deter him from racing back thru the field but came up a few car lengths shy at the finish.

“My dad has given me a good car to race this season, stated Bradly Morseman after his win. This thing is a dream to drive, and I have a ton of sponsors who help us out. I plan on moving up after this season, but at this point we are not sure what class we will go into for next season.”

Following Morseman and O’Brian across the line were Jaden Stone, Izabella Morseman, Kayleigh Morseman, Courtney Thomas and Desaray Miles as all the kids continue to improve with each passing race event.

It was a night that Wesley Houghtaling will never forget for several reasons. During intermission he proposed to his girlfriend on the front straight away much to the liking of the huge crowd that was in attendance. He then went on to win the Front Wheel Drive feature event after a torrid battle with current point leader and seven- time 2022 feature winner, Ryan Austin who dropped out with mechanical problems on the last lap. For Houghtaling it was win four on the year and his third in a row as he and Austin continue their dominance of the class. Kevin Doud once again put in a solid drive-in finishing third with Preston Cobb and Nate Freeland completing the top five.

Mikey Smith of Scranton, Pa made the long tow worth while in picking up the NY 600 Sprint Tour twenty-five lap feature. Smith, who would line up inside row two at the drop of the green would have to contend with early race leader, Mark Olmstead along with Ivan Forney before taking command of the event which saw breakneck speeds out of the 600cc creations, with only a single caution to slow the twelve car A-main, Mikey Smith was able to hold off Johnny Smith in claiming his first ever win on the high banks of Woodhull.

“Most of the tracks we race at are bull ring type venues, stated Smith after his win. We are used to tight places like Woodhull, but the banking makes this place unique. I’m glad I had a chance to win here and with a good turnout of cars and a good show I’m hoping I get to come back again next year.”

Finishing third was Ivan Forney with Billy Applebee and Jerry Gurney completing the top five.

Congratulations to all competitors and a special thanks to everyone that contributed to the success of the bicycle give away including Joe and Jean Willcox, Crawford Motorsports, Schweigarts Sugar Shack, Atta Boy Lubricants, Joe Birdsall, the ownership of the Woodhull Raceway and many other anonymous sources that made monetary donations. In the past 20 years some 1,100 bicycles have gone out as part of the Annual Christmas in July Night.

Injured corner flagger, Neil Stoddard made an appearance at Woodhull and addressed both the drivers early in the pit area along with the fans during intermission stating how much he appreciated everything that so many people have done for him over the past two weeks since that horrifying night on June 25. Stoddard is still recovering from nine broken ribs, a dislocated right shoulder and a badly bruised hip, but continues his road to recovery.

Up next at Woodhull it will be the New York State Stock Car Association (NYSSCA) sponsoring a Great 8 Show as the Woodhull Raceway continues to celebrate the tracks 56th year on continuous great race action.

Also, on the card it will be the popular, Joe Willcox Performance Street Stock King of the Ring, one on one elimination event.

Having started as the Hooligan Division when the Williams Family first opened the historic Steuben County facility, The Street Stocks along with the Modifieds have been the longest running classes during the track’s tenure.

Pit gates for the July 16 show open at 3:30 pm with Grandstand gates at 4:30 pm

WOODHULL RACEWAY RESULTS. July 9, 2022. UNOFFICIAL
Addison Eagles Night
Car counts are determined by nightly sign in. Not on how many compete in feature events.

INSINGER PERFORMANCE MODIFIEDS. (14 cars)
25 lap feature. JAKE DGIEN (2), Billy VanPelt, Dayton Brewer, Joe Dgien, Brady Fultz, Gregg Turner, Donnie Lawson, Steve Coots, Brayden Bills, Russ Morseman, Brian Doolittle, Eric Grice, Ken Wade, Walt Chyrywaty.

NAPA CRATE SPORTSMAN. (15 cars)
25 lap feature. LEVI RILEY, Kenny Peoples Jr., Blake Lawson, Josh Nobriga, Tim Guild, Stacy Jackson, Cayden Lawson, Matt Strauss, Jacob Banks, Nichole Hoag, Matt Sullivan, AJ Costley, Isabel Barron, Adam Taft, Jordan Bacon

NY 600 SPRINTS. (12 cars)
20 lap feature. MIKEY SMITH, Johnny Smith, Ivan Forney, Billy Applebee, Jerry Gurney, Jason Moll, Ron Vedder, Chuck Bruce, Matt Foster, Jeff Tinkham, Mark Olmstead, Will Fisher.
JOE WILLCOX PERFORMANCE STREET STOCKS. (10 cars)
20 lap feature. BRANDEN MORSEMAN (2), Ted Morseman, Brett Crawford, Travis Webster, Dan Gardner, Mike Williams, Mick Seeley, Luke Boom, Jesse Tuthill, Josh Webster.

HOBBY STOCKS. (16 cars)
20 lap feature. JOE BIRDSALL (4), Paul Dgien, Brandon Birdsall, Jeredd Dennis, Jason Ketrow, Brandon Conklin, Scott Brown, Mike Spencer, Meadow Dgien, Dillon Philip, Glenn VanCise, Mike Carapella, Kaiden Dgien, Adam Leubner, Greg Young, Brian Austin.

WICKED TEE’S MINI STOCKS. (9 cars)
20 lap feature. JASON WARNER (3), Danielle Thomas, Ryan Stone, Rick Amidon, Travis Southard, Kurt Babcock, Brian Grant.

FRONT WHEEL DRIVES. (7cars)
15 lap feature. WESLEY HOUGHTALING (4), Ryan Austin, Kevin Doud, Preston Cobb, Nate Freeland, Sherman Gage. DQ, Kayley Bacon.

WICKED TEE’S WARRIORS. (7 cars)
15 lap feature. BRADLY MORSEMAN (9), Marshall O’Brian, Jaden Stone, Izabella Morseman, Kayleigh Morseman, Courtney Thomas, Desaray Miles.

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